Buying a new video camera! new to the film game!

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    • #51692

      Hi all i am new around here and im looking for help. i want to buy a camcorder that is good for short films like music videos and also things like weddings. i own the sony vegas software so im good there, i just dont know what kind of camera i need! i was looking at this one


      is that a good one for the price? what kind of lense would i get? thanks all so much!

    • #204646

      I'm not familiar with this camera. I suggest you check it out at B&H ( where in addition to finding all the specs you can get customer reviews as well. Also Google for reviews.



    • #204653

      thank you jack for your input price is a factor i like the price of that one around 1500 did i also say i already have sony vegas software? thanks guys!

    • #204657

      Time to research ILC's (interchangeable lens cameras), before you take the plunge with the Sony. Expect to pay thousands for a set of fast lenses, or at least a few hundred for the slower kit lens. You'll be dealing with a large-sensor camera that is great in low light, but comes with the added challenge of shallow depth of field. If you're not an experienced shooter, this might be biting off more than you can chew.

      I have been shooting video for 24 years, currently with a Sony FS-100, and I can tell you that getting the best from these large-sensor cameras is like learning to ride a bike again.

      My suggestion is to start with a more prosumer-friendly small chip camera like the Canon XA10 until you are well established. Then you can purchase more advanced gear (and use the XA10 as a 2nd camera).


      For weddings, a 2nd camera is a must…or you should at least hire a 2nd shooter. See what other companies are doing in your area, and figure out whether you want to jump into that fray.


      BTW, the support gear, including audio, tripod, lights, etc…can easily triple the camera cost (but at least they don't get outdated as quickly).


      Finally, it's not the oven that makes a great cake, it's the baker. If you've got skills, then almost any camera will get you going.

    • #204661

      just one of the responces ive been looking for…! ok so i know now i prolly shouldnt roll with sony but i found this and he will let it go for 500… good deal? bad? ill look into the cannon! thanks! and if i didn get the sony how do i transfer the cassete to digital? is cassate good quality? thanks again

    • #204663

      Hoffdiddy – I recommend against the craigslist camera.  It is an old Standard Definition (SD) tape camera – obsolete by today's standards.


      You will want a camera that shoots "High Definition" or HD, to match the resolution of today's TVs and computer displays.


      The Sony NEX-VG20 that you originally asked about is a good camera.  I have shot with it and it will do everything you need it to – but that $1598 body-only price at Fry's is way too high.  You can get it for $1288 body-only at Amazon – or $1798 with the lens.


      If interchangeable lens cameras are too complicated, the $1799 Canon XA10 is a good choice – but it won't have the "cinematic depth of field" of the large sensor Sony.


      Here are a selection of videos shot with the VG20:


      Here are a selection of videos shot with the XA10:


      Hope this is helpful,



      Hybrid Camera Revolution

    • #204671



      I don't have much money but I purchased the Canon XA10 after reading the many great reviews.

      I could do it because the store's Credit Card allows for 12 no interest payments.


      People have told me the Quality is far superiour than the Panasonic almost Prosumer Camera I bought for 800 dollars.


      If you have about 600 to spend now or in the future, check out the Letus Adapter.


      You can attach camera lenses to it and the adapter to the Video Cam.    It gives an excellent shallow depth of field.  They recommend starting with a 50mm lens with a fstop of 1.4 or 1.8.


      If you have a strong tripod head, you don't need the extra tripod head adapter they sell.


      Used non AF Nikon lenses can be found for a good price.


      I don't know if we are allowed to post links to videos but this is a short one I made using the described equipment.  It is 1:34 min



      I have been buying equipment a bit at a time and making what I can't afford, like lighting kits.


      Good Luck


    • #204695

      so much guys thank you… is there a specific editing software that would be better with this camera? i have vegas pro…. and is there any cameras like this or a tad bit cheaper? does this cannon one have interchangeable lenses?! thanks so much!

    • #204696

      Your Welcome


      I don't think a specific editing software works better with any camera.


      If you like Vegas, stay with it,  I prefer Adobe.   I use Premiere CS 5.5 and was able to get a bunch of effect plug ins.   I still don't know how to do everything but I find what I do know is simple now.


      The Canon XA10 is billed by Canon as an entry level Professional Video Camera.  I read the reviews and it has been used for TV documentaries  I believe you would have to spend a lot of money to get interchangeable lenses.  That;s why I like the Letus Adapter as it can change lenses. I have a wide angle, a prime lens of 50mm and a zoom lens I hardly use.


      My friend who has Apple likes  Final Cut (I think that's it) the one that is not windows compatible.


      But Adobe allows 30 day trials and is offering their CS6 for 19.95 a month


      Most professional software is available for trial and is fully functional


      I read a piece of advice that said to get a regular camcorder and tripod.  Learn the craft of telling a story visually, learn to edit and as much of the other techniques as possible.  Then move on to professional gear.


      I ignored that.


      I had to figure out what I could afford and work from there.  I just wish I had some people to work with.



    • #204698

      The XA10 is not an interchangeable lens camera.


      Respectfully, it is significantly more expensive to buy an $1800 Canon XA10 plus a $600 Letus adapter (and manual Nikon glass) than to simply buy an $1800 interchangeable lens NEX-VG20 (lens included).


      Here is a mini documentary shot principally with the VG20:


      Most of the "shallow depth of field" community is moving away from small sensor fixed lens camcorders with Letus adapters — and towards large sensor camcorders and DSLRs/DSLTs/DSLMs with interchangeable lenses.





      Hybrid Camera Revolution

    • #204699

      Thanks for the  information Bill,


      I don't like to give bad advice.  It's based on my experience rather than overall knowledge.


      I assume the lens gives shallow depth of field.    I got the XA10 as it was the only one I could buy with 12 month no interest.  And the excellent reviews.  I took a very quick look at the Sony Link and it also has excellent reviews.


      Bought the adapter for a high end camcorder.  So it was good to have for the Canon.


      The price for the Sony is the same at B & H until Nov 30.


      B & H is a good store to get something from.  Great customer service.

       Unless there is a local store that has at least  a 14 day return policy and same price.


      I have bought things occasionaly at Future Shop until I found the right one.  .  


      I am glad that better advice is out there.


      With appreciation and all the best



      I just checked and Adobe monthly is 29.99 per month,  19.99 is for students and teachers.


    • #204701

      May I suggest that interchangeable lens cameras can be too much too soon for a newcomer. A camcorder with a range of focal lengths is by far the best to start on, to learn the basics of composition and movement, let alone all the complex stuff. I appreciate there is a case for having a single fixed focal length, like how beginners learned on fil based SLRs – the old 50mm lens – BUT if somebody is learning framing and composition, a zoom is far more useful. Learning to manual focus a conventional camcorder is a step to far to soon for many people, so larger format, mainly manual cameras are in my humble view NOT a good device to learn on. So many newcomers who buy DSLRs never get the idea that full frame focus is even possible, let alone good, and youtube reveals so many with totally rubbish focusing skills. I reckon before even considering a clever camera costing thousands, a few months on a cheap camcorder should be mandatory for skills building.


      Like buying a sports car as soon as you pass your test – usually a very poor decision. 


      He wants to do music videos and weddings – so technique is more important to get under the belt – then decisions on format and style can be made, based on results and experience.

    • #204703

      That makes excellent sense.    I did pass on the advice about starting with an ordinary camcorder.

      I first bought I good Camcorder but wanted shallow depth of field as I am teaching myself with lots of help from Videomaker how to make narrative films. 


      I guess I forgot the mention of what he wanted to shoot.   Don't need the depth of field for weddings.


      I broke my first camcorder although it still works it won't hold the adapter. Feeling sorry for myself I bought the XA10.


      I am aprofessional actor and improv comedian so I am learning the techniques through articles and going out and improvising movies.  If I had help I could do more. Sais la vie.


      I do love the shallow depth of field for what I do.  But have made documentary style videos with just the camera.


      I ramble but thanks very much for the good advice and thanks to videomaker for helping me and helping hofdiddy



    • #204704

      " I first bought I good Camcorder but wanted shallow depth of field "


      Quoting Barry Green:


      " DOF Myth: larger imagers = shallower DOF. Technically speaking, this is false. The imaging size has nothing to do with depth of field. The imager size affects the field of view, but not the depth of field. Larger imagers require longer lenses to deliver a usable field of view. Smaller imagers require shorter lenses. ( snip ) Sensor size is tangentially related to DOF in that the smaller sensor demands the wider angle lenses in order to get a usable field of view, but there's nothing inherent about a smaller sensor that is causing the depth of field to magically deepen.


      As a practical matter, because of the field of view constraints, you're always going to have deeper depth of field on a small-sensor camera than you would from a larger sensor camers. But understanding why ( the focal lengths ) can help you understand how to maximize what depth of field your camera is capable of. "


      He goes on to dispell a corollary myth which is too long for me to quote here


      Rick Crampton

    • #204705

      I think I will have to read that again to understand it.


      But using the Letus Adapter on my Camcorder and then on my XA10 has given me a shallow movie like  DOF.


      If I am using the terminology correctly.


      The subject(s) are in focus and the background is out of focus, Keeping the attention on what I want.   Of course I have to do other things to keep audience attention as well but I  have been paying more attention to cinematography in movies and see how they use the shallow depth of field.

      I am not sure what either cameras sensor size is but when I attach the 50mm lens to the adapter I can frame my shot and get what I want.  I am still learning to make the framing and what is in it  worth watching.


      Thank you,  Very glad to get input to help me learn



    • #204707

      thanks so much you two im learning so much! i watches that video Barry and quite loved it as that is sometime my type of humor πŸ™‚ so i have a sony handicam and i may just play around with that a bit b4 i splurge into the cannon. thank you two very much any more advice is always welcomed!

    • #204708

      I am glad I could be of help.


      I am so glad you enjoyed the video!!    I upload them for a friend in Montreal who is a freelance director for critiques.  He likes my stuff and has offered valuable insights.]


      I have never received a compliment for a video from someone I don't actually know.  It is satisfying.


      I have a few that I made that I uploaded and then took off after my friend saw them.  I just go into my backyard and have some rough idea and make it up as I go along.


      Thanks again and if you have other questions I am sure I (if I happen to have some knowledge about it) and others will be happy to answer them,


      Take care


    • #204709

      I saw today that I got 2 more views on my video.  I got more this week than I have in my life.  

      6 SO FAR!!!!!

      Not that I promote.


      But if you wish to send the link to anyone who you might think it funny please feel free to pass along the video from

      Barry Wilson



      It's fine if you don't but I won't be hurt if no one else sees either.


      Thanks again



    • #204711

      The snag with shallow DoF is that it takes great skill to keep it controlled – hence why the movie industry uses focus pullers and TV doesn't. Framing and keeping focus, let alone keeping the camera steady is a big learning curve, and hence I suspect, why the best shallow DoF products you see on youtube are from experienced people. Newcomers seem to soften things that need to be sharp – I find it very annoying to see sharp eyes, but soft nose and ears, and so often now we now see the foreground but not the background for no apparent reason at all. 


      It's the same with stills. Colleges teaching video and'or photography often set hurdles that need to be overcome. Tell the story with only 10 pictures – and only shoot 10 pictures, don't shoot 100 and pick the best 10 – just take 10, with thought. For video it's probably shot lengths or the trick of giving students a very small memory card, so they have to plan the shoot, then shoot the plan. Things like forgeting the establishing shot, or poor framing and focus then stand out because the product is very short.


      Other tricks they use are telling stories with a single continuous shot, again meaning lots of practice before committing to tape/card.


      DoF and other advanced techniques come when the basic storytelling is complete. Making every shot count. Some people are just gifted and instintively know a shot will work, others only discover afterwards. I'm afraid after years and years I still have to work very hard at it and get it wrong far too many times.

    • #204713

      Thanks for the tips.    Those are things I will try.

      The video I linked to was the first video I ever shot.  I then reshot it when I got my XA10.,

      The first time it was shot , it took about 30 minutes at the most.  I just went outside got an idea and

      went from there. It was 1min 3 sec.


      Because I am a professional actor and sometimes freelance comedy sketch writer, (Doesn't happen very often)  and the biggest thing that has taught me about story is being a professional Improviser and Teacher.  I have anmalyzed how stories are told so I can teach people to make it up as they go along.


      I love Shallow DOF,   one has to learn it sometimes and I am getting much better using it.


      I make videos to show my friend the actual TV director who gives critique and praise.  I am not going to try

      to be some You Tube idiot who thinks he is funnhy but is lame and has no technique.


      The person who started this thread said he is going to use the advice of using an ordinary camcorder

      and learn to tell stories and all the rest in making the visual interesting.


      While I have a short film script ready, (rewrites and more rewrites after the rewrites I have done)


      I am not doing that until I know more techincally.  How to light,  Getting good framing,

      I have a good understanding of how to use DOF and it doesn't always have to be shallow.


      I have been shooting a short video since last night at 8PM.  It is hard doing one man shoots,  I  have a Mask 

      on a tripod so I can get adjust the focus,  This one is a little ambitious, small area but lots of angles and locations

      in it.  But I am disorginizsed and keep misplacing things especiallly the remote so I

      hit record from my starting position.

      Plus I can't learn how to shoot 2 person scenes and so on.


      I could write a long piece about what I have learned is good story telling.  

       Glad I don't need to.

      So I will keep using my letus adapter and keep learning until I can show to the public

      thanks for those college excercises they are worth doing as well,


      Love the advice will read it anytime


      All the best








    • #204714

      " The snag with shallow DoF is that it takes great skill to keep it controlled – hence why the movie industry uses focus pullers and TV doesn't. "


       . .  and also, in feature film production, there is a lot of camera movement ( dolly shots ), at times very slow. It seems that in video-land, the camera is often static with the exception of pans and zooms.


      For sure there are many differences between dramatic productions and documentary productions which range far beyond merely Depth of Field or 24P, both of which seem to currently be all the rage as if these two things will somehow elevate a home movie to  the level of a feature film.


      There have been some gorgeous network-conducted interviews with political candidates wherein the subjects are sharp and crisp, and the background is very much out of focus. How much would one care to bet that they were NOT shot with a DSLR? Network cameramen carry shoulder-mounted ( albeit rather expensive ) camcorders. They don't have time to fiddle with wires, accessories, and double system audio associated with DSLR's, yet they get " that look ".


      Rick Crampton

    • #204716

      TV cameras are hugely expensive and of course can do great things.


      Many feature films are shot with Video Cameras.  I don't know how much they cost but I am sure it's in the 6 figures. At least.  


      I am not a big fan of using a DSLR for making narrative videos..


      For now I like making comedic short movies.  They are not home movies in the normal sense.


      I like my 23.97FPS and I like Shallow DOF.  But I can't make a real movie or short film with what I have,


      Unfortunately I can't Pan or Dolly or 2 over the shoulder shots.


      But month by month I learn more.  I do it when I think it will be fun.


      In youtube land if you are one of the few lucky to get millions of views a week you can make money.


      There is this one young guy in Los Angeles who may come from money as his shorts are well produced and shot, he has stunts and very good special effects and of course there must be a crew for all this.  He makes good funny shorts and that is very rare on You Tube. 

      Thaks for the insight, I have to go and finish my narrative comedy. With 23.97 FPS and a shallow DOF.  I just have to add a lot more lights as the wide angle lens I have on seems to need much more light.  Especialy when I get on top of the refrigerator.

      The shots I did had some noise.  I need clear.

      Thanks and good luck



    • #205033

      Hey Hoffdiddy:


      If you ever need something specifically for low-light conditions, you might try this comparative shopping guide: Best Low Light Camcorders.  Although I don't think any of the cameras discussed there can change lenses.  Still worth a look–some of those camcorders are pretty cheap considering how nice they are.


      Good luck in your hunt for the video camera for you!

    • #205083

      The best brand for Proffessional Video cameras is Canon I am sure. I use mine which is canon and I am soooo satisfied.

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